Early this year Wolff Olins designed a new brand identity and strategy for Belkin, the computer and consumer electronics networking company, created in collaboration with the brand.
Since the 1970s Wolf Olins has been at the centre of most of the key developments in visual communication. Founders Michael Wolff and Wally Olins have earned guru-like status within modern corporate communications. Wolff Olins’ books on corporate identity and branding have defined the terrain for a generation of business-minded designers. And as the creators of the Bovis hummingbird, the prancing BT piper, the Orange identity, London 2012′s logo, Unilever’s brand and many others, Wolff Olins has always operated on a big stage – and faced the public scrutiny that inevitably entails.
A collection of brands created by Wolff Olins.
More recently Wolff Olins worked closely with Belkin – the computer and consumer electronics networking company, to produce their new brand identity and strategy.
Established in 1983, Belkin designs and produces a broad range of consumer electronic products, from routers, to mobile accessories, to a perplexing but always life-saving range of USB and cables — or, as they so eloquently and on-brand put it, “Belkin products connect the dots between people and technology.”
Belkin had successfully managed their business by being extremely responsive to their channel partners and introducing new product lines. However, they recognised that in order to increase relevance with retailers and consumers, they needed to shift their focus from being manufacturing- led to brand-led. To jump start this transformation, they asked Wolff Olins to help them define their brand purpose and create a new brand expression and identity to carry the brand into the 21st century.
After conducting extensive interviews with the leadership team and influencers throughout the company, Wolff Olins designed an ethnographic research study to better understand the role of technology in people’s lives. Armed with a solid understanding of Belkin’s culture and ambition and consumers’ relationship and expectations of technology, Wolff Olins identified the opportunity for Belkin to leverage their insights-driven product development approach, and become the most human brand in their category.
Although the product portfolio is very diverse, almost all of them help people stay seamlessly connected to each other, activities and things they love. In order to focus the organization on the philosophy that technology exists to serve people (and never the other way around), Wolff Olins worked together to articulate the brand’s purpose: to deliver innovative product solutions that enable people to realise their potential through the application of technology. This intention was distilled into the idea of “people-inspired products.”
The new brand expression inspired by this strategy—a collection of five dots alluding to the human figure—has been affectionately named PIP. As Belkin chief brand officer, Ernesto Quinteros, said, “The new logo symbolises our commitment to take inspiration from people and acknowledges the connection between people and the experiences they value most.”
In a global consumer research study, the new identity was described as active, strong and energetic yet simple and calm – all consistent with the overall strategy of delivering the most people-focused technology experience. The new strategy and identity were unveiled at CES 2012, where Belkin debuted new products across home automation, home entertainment, wireless networking and mobile accessories—each featuring the company’s new identity, and all developed based on a deep understanding of how technology can make people’s lives better, easier and more fulfilling.
The rebranding also coincided with founder Chet Pipkin returning to the organisation as CEO and president. “Belkin has come a long way since the days I was building computer cables in my parent’s garage,” said Pipkin. “But I’m excited to be back leading the charge of a revitalised Belkin, one that is synonymous for quality, innovation, and, most of all, products inspired by the potential of people.”
The PIP icon is a very loveable brand. It’s a simple and elegant icon with a strange balance of warmth and technology. It’s also perfectly in line with the brand language and positioning. The typography follows the Bauhaus revival taking place across modern electronic brands and pairs very well with the icon. The bright, fluorescent green is a nice brand element and helps offset the otherwise black-and-white aesthetic. Overall, this is a fantastic improvement for a company that already has a good standing with solid products and track record.
Wolff Olins’ work is as good as it gets when working for big public-facing businesses that need to measure and evaluate everything they do. Not only can they produce brilliant pieces of visual communication, they do their work in the full glare of public bodies drowning in accountability and evaluation criteria. High-end creativity is not easy in this environment, and it’s rare to find it. It is for this reason Wolff Olins continue to be trusted by the world’s largest companies to help develop their brand identities.
Congratulations to Wolff Olins for winning this week’s Agency of the Week award and for your continued extraordinary work.
From the TrafficLIVE team.
‘Agency of the week’ is a weekly award from Traffic LIVE to give praise to design agencies who really are – ‘Doing Different’.The award could celebrate the companies career or a specific project. This award is bound by new rules and is awarded to those companies who shine in their industry for their skill, hard work and spirit.
Think you got what it takes? Email email@example.com